“My Spirit abides among you; do not fear“Haggai 2:5

 Third in our series of addressing “Life Happens:  Plan Ahead”, is “How not to be blindsided by LOSS!”

Loss occurs in our lives in many forms.  Loss of self esteem, Loss of dreams, Loss of a plan, Loss of a job or beloved pet. Loss of a love or life partner (through separation, divorce, or death).

You can probably add to this list from your experiences.  Seldom does one progress through this earthly life without some sort of loss, and as we have stated, “Life Happens”, so to look toward prevention and wellness, we must learn to PLAN AHEAD!!

Excellent resources that can be roadmaps for dealing with loss are the following:

*“Life after Loss”, A personal Guide Dealing with Death, Divorce, Job Change & Relocation.  By Bob Deits.  This is an excellent classic in crisis intervention with wise guidance.

* “How to Survive the Loss of a Love” a resource when emotional injury takes place and a guide to healing is needed.  By Bloomfield, Colgrove, & McWilliams.

* DivorceCare: and Grief Share:   A series of support groups and seminars with a non-denominational focus on recovery. Check online for group nearest you.

Each of these resources follows a common thread.  A prevention mode, considering the following:

·         Be AWARE:  Look for beginning stages of depression, disease, difficulty in a relationship or job.  Dig deeper into ‘cause & effect’ and begin making changes BEFORE a crisis occurs. 

·         Surround yourself with a support system.  Communicate concerns (early) with family and friends, utilize resources of Pastoral Guidance, Self-Help reading and support groups, online information and resources.  Be a cheerful receiver of a helping hand or shoulder.

·         Strengthen your spiritual resources.  Pray, Scour the Scriptures, Utilize books, articles, and online information sources for creating a strong, inspired, ‘ready’, emotional health.

·         Know that every emotional loss has a huge impact on your life. “Loss is not the enemy. Living in constant fear of it is.  It takes most people at least 2 years to begin returning to a normal life after a major loss. “(Deits).  Loss is natural and you WILL recover.

·         Play the “What If” game.  If my pet dies, what steps will I follow?,  If I lose this job, what will I do next?, If my spouse dies, what steps shall I follow next?, If I am alone, what, where, & how will I enrich my life next?, If I suffer loss, who will I ask to help me?     Take time to answer these questions NOW.  Prevention paves the way from pain.

·          Attend to your personal WELLNESS.  Do not lapse from eating well, exercise, vitamins, friendships, utilizing respite opportunities, looking for moments of JOY, and care for YOU.

·         Break the conspiracy of silence around loss. Affirm that “I can get through any loss successfully.” Know that grief takes work and tools for that job are available.  Seek them.

Alice Stephenson BSN, RN, PN 

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